Weekly News From Your Union: July 14 – July 18

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July 18, 2014

In This Issue:

Annual Meeting Registration Extended To August 11

VSEA Hopes New Pilot Program Will Bring Welcome Relief To DCF Workers

Chittenden Chapter’s Fifth Annual “Night at the Vermont Lake Monsters” Will Include Barbeque!

VSEA Seeks Legislative And Field Services’ Director

Go!Vermont Group Promoting “Capital Commuters” Program

VSEA Advantage Program Welcomes Divine Align Yoga
 


Retired Members’ Chapter Annual Meeting Is August 13: Must Register By August 1

Annual Meeting Award Application and Nomination Forms Now Available!

VSEA Advantage Discount Program Pleased To Once Again Offer Discounted Day Tickets To The Great Escape


VSEA Calendar:

July 21
Brattleboro Chapter Employee Appreciation Day
State Office Building
232 Main
Brattleboro
11:00 a.m.

July 21
Addison Chapter Employee Appreciation Day
State Office Building
First Floor Conference Room
Middlebury
11:00 a.m.

July 22
Steward Training: State Policies and Procedures
The Summit Center
439 Industrial Lane
Berlin
9:00 a.m.

July 22
Addison Chapter Annual Meeting
State Office Building
First Floor Conference Room
Middlebury
11:00 a.m.

July 24
Steward Training: Health & Safety  
VTrans Training Center
Room 201
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
9:00 a.m.

July 25
Retired Members’ Chapter Executive Committee Meeting
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:30 a.m.

 


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Annual Meeting Registration Extended To August 11

 
The VSEA Special Events Committee is extending 2014 Annual Meeting registration until Monday, August 11. The registration deadline had previously been July 25. 

To find an official VSEA Annual Meeting 2014 registration form online, please click here

All members should have received a registration form by U.S. Mail, but if you didn’t, please contact VSEA headquarters at 223-5247 to check that your on-file mailing address is correct.  

Another reminder to VSEA members trying to dial the Killington Grand’s toll-free reservation line number that was listed in the recently mailed 2014 VSEA Annual Meeting registration information. The published number with the 888 area code is incorrect. The correct number to call is 800-282-9955.

VSEA Hopes New Pilot Program Will Bring Welcome Relief To DCF Workers

As reported previously in WIA, the Legislature approved a new “Position Pilot Program” in the past session which allows managers with the Agency of Transportation, Department for Children and Families, Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Department of Buildings and General Services to bypass legislative approval to add new positions as needed, within existing budgets. VSEA supported the pilot project as part of the union’s legislative push to convince lawmakers and State officials to reduce the number of temporary and contract positions by converting them to classified positions with fair wages and benefits. Recently, VSEA was informed that the project is already producing results, learning that DCF will add 27 new positions to help reduce caseloads for workers in DCF’s Family Services Division and provide help to workers at Woodside. The new positions will be financed through savings from an anticipated reduction in the Reach-Up caseload, coupled with the successful conversion of temp and contract positions.

“This is very good timing, because nearly all the DCF workers we have been meeting and talking with in the past few months—actually years—say caseloads and staffing levels continue to be very serious issues that must be addressed,” VSEA President Shelley Martin tells WIA. “Our hope is this that pilot project will be successful and that it will provide positive examples for agencies and departments throughout state government to model. Adequate staffing and manageable caseloads are key to VSEA members being able to provide the best service possible to Vermonters. VSEA applauds the State for making Vermont’s most vulnerable residents a priority in this pilot, and we really do hope the program will be expanded to provide similar relief to workers across state government.
 
VSEA Research Analyst Adam Norton agrees that this is welcome news. He says the Vermont Legislature has been fully aware for years of the burden unsafe caseloads were putting on DCF social workers. He adds that lawmakers have largely ignored the issue, even having received numerous annual reports that showed Vermont DCF’s skyrocketing caseloads were tracking well above the nationally recognized best practice of 12 families per social worker. In fact, in Vermont, a DCF social worker’s average caseload is currently 17.3:1 (down from a high of 20:1); the uptick largely attributable to the economic recession and Vermont’s growing opiate addiction crisis.
 
“After refusing to create new DCF positions for years, VSEA members are excited about this new pilot program, and it’s good that they are already seeing some positive results,” says Norton, who explains that the new positions include 17 new social workers (seven of which were previously high-turnover temporary social worker positions). Other new positions include a Domestic Violence Specialist to assist social worker’s in southern counties, a Program Services Clerk, a Child Safety Manager, a Social Worker specifically assigned to child-abuse investigations and a nurse to work with children in DCF custody who have life-threatening medical conditions.

VSEA Newport/Island Pond Chapter members built and rode on a VSEA-themed float in the town of Derby’s annual July 4 parade. Pictured here are some of the VSEA members who participated. WIA meant to run this photo last week, and we apologize for the delay.

Chittenden Chapter’s Fifth Annual “Night at the Vermont Lake Monsters” Will Include Barbeque!

Prior to the Chittenden Chapter’s fifth annual “Night at the Lake Monsters” game on Friday, August 1, the Chapter is pleased to once again be hosting a barbeque for VSEA members in the VDH Lab parking lot at 195 Colchester Ave. All VSEA members and their families attending the August 1 game are invited to drop by the Chapter’s barbeque beforehand to enjoy a free meal and a beverage. The grill fires up at 5:30 p.m.   
 
This year, the Lake Monsters will square off against the Batavia Muckdogs. The Chapter has extended an invitation to 100 children and their families being served by the Howard Center to join them at the game as their guests.
 
VSEA members belonging to any Chapter statewide can reserve two tickets per member up until Friday, July 25. After that, tickets will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Chittenden President Kara Haynes will keep a list of members wanting more than two tickets initially, and she will follow-up with these requests after the July 25 deadline to reserve has passed and she is able to determine how many tickets remain.  
 
If you are a VSEA member wanting to reserve your two tickets, please contact Chittenden Chapter President Kara Haynes by phone at 735-3739 or email her at kara.haynes@state.vt.us.  

VSEA Seeks Legislative And Field Services’ Director

Your union is currently recruiting qualified individuals to fill the positions of:
 
 

Legislative Director

Job Duties will include:

  • Assisting the VSEA Legislative Committee in the development of the union’s legislative priorities;
  • Coordinating the lobbying and/or testifying activates of VSEA staff and members;
  • Assisting the VSEA Legislative Committee and members in executing the unions legislative priorities thorough lobbying efforts;
  • Testifying before legislative committees and at public hearings on VSEA’s issues;
  • Supervising legislative staff and interns;
  • Developing excellent working relationships with member leaders as well as rank and file members in order to assist members in their union’s legislative advocacy;
  • Researching legislative issues and preparing legislative reports as necessary;
  • Working with VSEA’s communications team to assist with political and legislative messaging;
  • Coordinating necessary action  on proposed legislation;
  • Collaborating with other unions and coalitions on legislation impacting VSEA members; and
  • Coordinating VSEA’s political action and campaign support. 

Field Services Director

Job Duties will include:

  • Supervision of six full-time union representatives;
  • Conducting performance appraisals and evaluations of union field staff;
  • Act as liaison between union field staff and the VSEA legal department;
  • Oversight and coordination of field services, including but not limited to ensuring effective member representation by union field staff and stewards;
  • Responsible for the collection of field staff statistics for inclusion in reports to senior leadership;
  • Enforcement of collective bargaining agreements though the supervision of union field representatives;
  • Responsibility for member representation for cases with statewide or unit-wide impact, class action, or conflict cases;
  • Assisting the Director of Labor Relations in unit contract negations. Work includes: coordination and oversight of worksite meetings, proposal development with bargaining teams, negotiation, communication to unit members, and ratification process; and
  • Temporarily cover field territories in the absence of field staff. 

If you are interested in applying for either of the positions described above, please submit your resume and a cover letter to hiring@vsea.org. You can also mail your information to VSEA, c/o Ray Stout, 155 State St., Montpelier, VT 05602.

Go!Vermont Group Promoting “Capital Commuters” Program

In an effort to help address a parking shortage for state employees working in Montpelier, the group Go!Vermont began to provide discounted bus tickets in June 2013 to employees who commute into central Vermont. To date, Go!Vermont’s offer has been well received and dozens of state employees are taking advantage of the discounts.
 
Now Go!Vermont is asking WIA to promote another of its programs to VSEA members; the Capital Commuters Program. By enrolling in the program, VSEA members become eligible for a 50% discount on bus passes for certain routes, VIP parking for vanpoolers and carpoolers, a “guaranteed ride home” benefit and an official benefit card. Capital Commuter participants who take transit, carpool, or bike ten round trips per month are eligible to receive great giveaways to area businesses along with other perks.
 
Sign up by July 30 to be eligible to win one of this month's great prizes:

  • $150 to Onion River Sports
  • $50 to the sponsored restaurant of your choice
  • $25 to Shaw's Supermarket
  • Free transit pass for a month!"

 
To learn more about the Capital Commuters Program, or to promote it to your co-workers, click here to download a flyer and click here to read the latest edition of the Capital Commuters newsletter.   

VSEA Advantage Program Welcomes Divine Align Yoga

 
The VSEA Advantage Discount Program is pleased this week to welcome:

DIVINE ALIGN YOGA
Located in the Plainfield, Vermont, Co-op
153 Main Street
Plainfield, Vt. 05667

Class meets on Thursday evenings
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Each class is $10

To register, or for more information,
please contact:

Melissa Massey
(802) 382-8998 or (802) 454-1001
divinealignyoga@gmail.com
Click here to view D.A.Y. Facebook page
 

Retired Members’ Chapter Annual Meeting Is August 13

Must Register By August 1

 

 
The VSEA Retirees’ Chapter is hosting its 2014 Annual Meeting and luncheon, Wednesday, August 13, 9:30 a.m., at the Montpelier Elks Club. A delicious buffet luncheon will be provided for $10 for VSEA-RC members whose dues are current through FY14, and $15 for their guests. The Retirees’ Chapter will hold elections for Chapter officers and trustees. Retirees’ Chapter members must be current in their dues in order to vote.

To find out if you are current in your dues, please call the VSEA staff liaison to the Retirees’ Chapter, Nikolas Stein, at VSEA H.Q.: 802-223-5247 or TOLL-FREE 1-800-427-5247.

The Chapter mailed this announcement to VSEA Lifetime Members. If you haven’t received the VSEA Retirees’ Chapter’s paper announcement in the U.S. Mail please call.

To register please contact Nikolas Stein, at VSEA H.Q.: 802-223-5247 or TOLL-FREE 1-800-427-5247.

Annual Meeting Award Application and Nomination Forms Now Available!

 


Every year at Annual meeting, VSEA gives out five awards: the Frank A. Mazza Award, the Terence D. Macaig Award, the Linda Coan Memorial Award, the VSEA Chapter of the Year Award and the VSEA Steward of the Year Award. Click here to view, download and print application and nomination forms for the 2014 Annual Meeting Awards.

VSEA Advantage Discount Program Pleased To Once Again Offer Discounted Day Tickets To:

The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom
Lake George, New York

“Two parks of fun for the price of one!"
 

Park Opens Today, May 23, 2014, & Splashwater
Opens May 24, 2014
 

Discount Tickets Now Available Through
VSEA HQ & Online*

 

2014 Regular Day Tickets —
$31 each ($24 Savings)

 
To Get Tickets:
Send or drop off check (made out to VSEA), noting how many tickets you need. VSEA can mail your tickets or you can pick them up at VSEA HQ in Montpelier. VSEA members can also order tickets online by going to GE’s homepage, looking in the upper right-hand corner for the “Promo Code” box and entering VSEA’s promo code, which can be found here*. GE Phone Number: 1-888-792-3500
 
New this year is the Extreme Supernova thrill ride!

*Note: You must be a registered VSEA website user to view the VSEA promo code. You can sign up
online here.

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